back to article Tiscali hits 'undo' after bandwidth throttling chokes iTunes

Tiscali has been forced to reverse a software installation on its bandwidth-throttling hardware, after it triggered complaints from customers who saw iTunes blocked during peak hours and other traffic slowed to a crawl. Engineers have now rolled back the installation, so access should be returned to normal during this evening' …


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  1. Anna Log

    ooohh the little tinkers.

    My download speeds from Napster using my 'pipex' ADSL line were down to a whopping 3kb/s yesterday afetrnoon, I achieved faster rates via an old 56k dial -up into Freeserve/Ornage. Now I know why :-(

  2. Anna Log

    ... and while I'm at it ....

    When I spoke to tech support they denied port blocking, despite the fact that during the late evening I couldn't even log in to my Napster account, let alone download anything. A quick double check with the 56k dial -up allowed immediate log in to my Napster account. Time to move ISP methinks.

  3. Mike Ball

    Not just Tiscali

    It hasn't just been Tiscali - it's also affected Pipex users (like me) - owned by Tiscali. It's a shame that, judgeing by some of the Apple and Tiscali forum posts, quite a few users were driven to actions as extreme as re-installing Windows before the relevant helpdesks took a cool look at the pattern of complaints.

  4. Michael

    The crap companies will eat themselves.

    .....or throttle each other.

    Yep, there's DEFINITELY a trend here.

  5. Alex Brooker

    cheap == slow

    If you have cheap broadband you will have to accept that it will have the highest level of 'traffic management'. Pay a few quid more and go for someone else, until they get bought up by a bigger player and the fun starts again!

  6. Martyn Breckenridge
    Thumb Up

    When I Was With Tiscali.....

    "Over the last week users have reported newly-blocked ports and sub-dial-up speeds of 10Kbit/s between 5pm and 9pm"

    I would have loved to get 10Kbit/s when i was with Tiscali, apparently i was on a "bad line".

    Now i'm with Entanet and i get over 850Kbit/s on the "bad line".

    Maybe it's just coz tiscali are crap

  7. Mark

    Well I told 'em

    I was off during the week for a day (Friday, I think) and the connection to tiscali was fine. I was getting DNS lookup timeouts looking for any other servers, mind.

    Told 'em if I couldn't use the internet and that now they've stopped the 2meg line and introduced download caps, I'm leaving as soon as possible.

    I don't P2P and, since I'm using Linux, can't view most of the "multimedia content" out there. I'm probably a very low user. I will probably never go over the minimum cap. But the key word is "probably". Would they be OK if I were probably to pay them (I asked them)?

    I didn't want an 8meg line because I wouldn't be able to USE 8megs. All the faster download speed meant was that it would be earlier in the month before I went over the limit and was either blocked, throttled (so getting less than 8meg) or told to pay premium rates. So at 2megs I'd lose less bandwidth. That it isn't any good for IPTV or Movies On Demand isn't a problem: I'd only be able to view a handful in a month anyway, so I'm missing out on a handful of "content. Meh.

  8. Andy

    Tiscali are bandits

    Stay well away! Was with them for months. Essentially, visiting a site like YouTube - which has moderately high bandwidth requirements - between 6 and 11pm warranted a warning letter about overusage... on their 'unlimited' packages! Not to mention the ~3 months of tech support pestering to get them to reconnect our service - during which time they were quite happy to charge me the full service cost.

  9. Craig
    Thumb Down

    Uh Oh

    As probably the only remaining happy Bulldog user, I guess this Tiscali cheapness will have to rub-off eventually :(

    I get 16meg down / 1meg up 24/7, seemingly uncapped. I know I'm very lucky, but with stories like this, It's only a matter of time. I can't get cable where I live, and Be insist they can't provide their service to me- who else is there if you want a decent connection and don't mind paying extra for it?

  10. steve

    what went wrong?

    tiscali is what went wrong they have been crap since the days i first used them, i now on pipex-homecall who rent the service from tiscali and its just as bad if not worse.

    i just wish tiscali would disapear or offer some good packages for the heavey user.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ukonline are very good. i get 16meg 20:1 contention, £25 a month, have never had any issues with lots of torrents and now ~10GB a week from the playstation store on top of that ;)

  12. Anonymous Coward

    @ craig

    Be/o2 are increasing their network rapidly this year...

  13. Anonymous Coward

    f2s affected as well

    Since Tiscali bought Pipex my freedom 2 surf broadband has been completely useless. Rubbish speeds during the day and in the evening despite paying for a decent package and a 50Gb limit I never reach.

    I've had enough and received my MAC within hours of requesting it last week. They tried offering me £10 off my subscription, 2 months free and a free wireless router to make me stay (with a min 12 months contract) but I told them it wasn't the value that was the problem but the quality of service since the Tiscali switch. They were very understanding and the next email after that contained my migration code.

  14. plpl
    IT Angle


    @Anna : technically, this is maybe no "port blocking", but instead "deep packet inspection"...

    Such network equipements detect the type of traffic thanx to in depth IP analysis (and whatever the port). Then apply policing/shaping.

    The main target is of course P2P, which increases the average bandwith per customer, and consequently backbone and transit costs.

    Of course, nobody expects such DPI equipements to make mistakes and consider itunes traffic being P2P (just as your intelligent antispam may incorrectly mark a few mails as spam)...

    This could never happen.

  15. Luke Wells
    Thumb Up

    What do you expect?

    If you are going to use a "toy" ISP then expect them to treat you like a child.

    "You are not grown up enough to decide how much bandwidth to use, so we are going to decide for you"

  16. Chris McFaul


    I am with eclipse and while it is one of the more costly options (£29.99/month), i get unlimited 18 hours a day, and a 50GB limit between 6pm-midnight, and it throttles (only between 6pm-midnight) after that, which isnt too bad since 50GB/month for just the evening period is probably enough for most people.

    But i am surpirsed that there arent more premium services, they must recognise that there is a demand for this, people who would be willing to pay more to be able to do more, yet a lot of ISP's seem to have their top of the range product as "unlimited 8MB***, tiny text: 20GB/month cap" and then nothing above that,

    perhaps its just that if they did offer a premium product it would be like admitting that their "unlimited" offers are nothing of the sort?

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Jon

    sue em

    They shouldn't sell what they don't own, sonds like frauding customers. If they don't have the bandwidth, they should stop signing up new customers... If you pay for 5mbps down, you should get that speed all the time, regardless of what your neighbors are doing.

  19. Mark Milaszkiewicz

    cheap broadband, no caps?

    i'm with sky, and luckily in the past 12 months have had very little problems, great connectivity and speeds, no throttling and i only pay £10 a month (ok, i have a sky subscription too, but the cheapest it works out is £26!)

    tiscali have the marketing right to attract the punters who really don't have a clue, they just see a bottom line price, and think it'll give them everything they need. Then this happens, and they can't do anything!

    bring back dial up?

  20. Pete

    They were blocking Opera too

    I was using Tiscali at a friends house, and during the evening the Opera web browser was being blocked, and MS Outlook behaved strangely as well.

    With Opera they must have been relying on the browser ID string, as if I changed Opera to pretend to be IE or Firefox I could suddenly access sites again, change it back and everything stopped. This happened every night between about 6 and 9:30

    Most annoying, especially as Opera is my preferred browser on both MS and Linux, and I like to double check any web sites I design in IE, Opera and Firefox before launch.

  21. sproot

    @ Luke

    Some of us were with Pipex, and weren't aware they were a toy ISP.

    Unfortunately, you're right: The only way to get Pipex type quality now is to go somewhere else. Something I wish I'd done when I first read (here) that ticali had bought them, would have saved me being without for four weeks while they found me a MAC code.

  22. Christopher Boomer


    I had to do a hefty download from a server last Thursday and was appalled that it took 4.5 hours. I guess that means it will take all day to return it.

    Ho hum. Looks like my days at f2s are numbered too. If the standard of service is falling to Tiscali levels, I may as well use Sky and have the TV thrown in.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    No complaints

    I have been with Tiscali for about 2 years and following initial difficulty over connection (resolved within 3 weeks) I have had a near faultless service. I have also recently been upgraded from 2mb to 8mb for nothing (although this actually translates to 0.8mb upgraded to 2.5mb).

    I am an occasional YouTuber and torrentee and am very happy with the <£20 price especially as it comes with unlimited phone calls and line rental.


  24. Mark

    Re: cheap broadband, no caps?

    Read your TOS, though.

    Pure evil.

    Fuck 'em.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    I'm with Orange (groan) and towards the end of last week had major issues with speed, including DNS lookups (could only get Google pages). Wonder if it was related....

    Would've phone "technical" "Support", but listening to Morresy makes me less depressed.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Perhaps what is needed is a mass protest, where a large number of customers refuse to pay a percentage (say15-20%) of their bills, all the same time. All these customers could then send an identical letter explaining that there was now a new policy of throttling the payment of bills and how they understood that the company may be upset by this sudden reduction of expected returns but hey - you reduce the service - we reduce the payment for the service.

  27. Kebabster
    Thumb Down


    "Over the last week users have reported newly-blocked ports and sub-dial-up speeds of 10Kbit/s between 5pm and 9pm."

    Ahhahahaha, glad to hear nothing's changed. I was with the shower of b******* for 9 months before finally getting out of my 12 month contract and going to ICUK - no throttling, no shaping, a cap, but at least I could possibly reach the cap if I tried hard enough...

    In all honesty, no exagerating, I got better speeds in the evenings on 56k dial-up to Demon all those years ago.

  28. Ross

    Bad business

    There's nothing wrong with traffic shaping *per se*, but like all things, when it's done badly it's a nightmare.

    The trouble with Tiscali is they (and many other ISPs) have the same business model as Northern Rock - they offer way more than they have the resources to back up. All they need to do is to be honest with their customers and say "ok, you can have 50GB/month at 16Mb/s but you pay for it. If you just want a web/email type package then it's nice and cheap"

    But no, they effectively lie to get subscribers in, then realise they don't have the capacity or funds to actually provide what they offered when you signed the contract. It needs looking at by the regulators. Yeah I know - that's almost as big a joke as the broadband market.

  29. Gilbert Wham

    @anna log:

    The fact is, whoever you were talking to would not have had a clue what this 'port blocking' is...

    Also, I'll second Entanet; if you can't get Be, get Entanet. No shaping, no blocking, no contract and upfront bandwidth usage figures. Cheap(ish) too.

  30. heystoopid


    So did "god" himself stick the boots in answer to his customer complaints or took one look at the average uploads per ISP and said "You bums suck , now pull the finger out and fix it now or else we will send in the legal cleaning team to assassinate all who stand between us and the suckers !"

  31. Rob

    There are some problems with your comment: A title is required.

    I'm with Nildram, who I was recently informed were bought by Tiscali. Nildram have always been excellent (and to credit still are) but I can't help wondering how long it'll last...

  32. J


    And to think there are (crazy) people saying that "downloads are it" for high-def content, plastic discs are dead, etc...

  33. Anonymous Coward

    get in touch through the usual channels... they will get more money thanks to those 0870 numbers!

    In fact breaking things is a good business case for them. The more people call customer support the more money they make.

  34. Peet McKimmie
    Thumb Down

    Tiscali have always been incompetent.

    I had a 12-month contract for Tiscali Broadband. During that 12 months they never *once* got the billing right. I'm not talking about £10 here or there, but additional charges of £150 or more for either services I hadn't received or things that had been advertised (and confirmed) as free. I got away at the earliest possible opportunity.

  35. Rodrigo Andrade

    Not just UK and US

    Traffic shaping has spread like a wildfire. Here in Brazil, there's no more options left for cable or DSL proveiders.

    They all implemented traffic shapping (encryption isn't helping) and we are seeing 15kb/s on torrents, even at hours like 4am, on a 4 megs cable subscription.

    There's no where to run

    And of course, as it is our local custom, customers get it up the rear without lube so fat bastards can get fatter while counting money (that includes the consumer rights branch officials)

  36. Craig
    Thumb Up


    Cheers for the suggestions!'s top package seems ideal... freephone help line as well! One for all of us on ISPs bought up by Tiscali to keep in mind :)

  37. Anonymous Bastard
    Thumb Down

    Experience of leaving Tiscali because of slow speeds.

    When I 'phoned to get a migration code Tiscali offered me the moon on a stick to convince me to stay. They offered me an upgrade which would be useless on my ageing and corroded phone line. They offered a reduction in price when really they should be charging more. They offered a router I already had. They offered me bundled weekend calls, and then offered peak time calls. They finally asked what I would like and I said no more packet shaping and carbon neutrality please, they said they couldn't offer me that so finally let me have a MAC. Ha!

  38. Ron Eve
    Thumb Down

    Pipex and Tiscali

    For more than 6 years I recommended Pipex to a couple of dozen clients. Apart from the odd glitch they were reliable and their CS was pretty helpful, bordering on excellent on occasion. When I heard Tiscali had bought them out I wondered whether there would be any change of service....

    Oh yes.

    I now have clients (business users mostly) who are ringing me up and complaining about very slow speeds and time-outs on their Pipex connections. We've rung Pipex customer service who tell the client to re-jig their modems and perform tests using the BT access site and report back to Pipex...


    I'm now in the process of helping them get MAC codes and move them all to an ISP more reliable and helpful.

  39. plpl
    IT Angle


    @ross : to precise a few things :

    ISPs pay for peak usage: this determines the size of the core network and the bill for transit carriers.

    Unfortunately, everyone wants to use it's internet access at the same time (roughly between 6pm and 10pm).

    And that's why ISPs tend to block P2P during peak hours to minimize this network peak. So max download/upload is not really relevant since it's not really how much but when.

    @jon : how funny, if everybody starts downloading 5Mbit/s at the same time, there will be no ISPs and no internet any more. Unless you are willing to pay a few thousand pounds a month. Anyway, i'm not sure such a network is just technically feasable with today's equipments.

    Btw, ISPs size their infrastructures for let's say a 50kbyte/s (400kbit/s) average usage per user.

    With new usages coming (more youtube, more google tv, etc.), ISPs'future and business model is going to be quite interesting....

  40. N

    Pipex and Tiscali

    Both my office and home accounts will shortly be migrating to Zen.

    Tiscali can disappear up their own blocked ports AFAIAC.

    The only regret I have is that I didn't switch ISP beforehand, when I first heard of Tiscali taking over. Shame. Pipex used to be good.

  41. Mark Abbott

    Spawn of the Devil

    I'm glad I just switched from Pipex. When I rang them to tell them I'm off they asked why. When I told them it was because they were about to be taken over by Tiscali who are evil, they didn't even bother to argue...

  42. Bill

    Didnt last long!

    I was able to connect to play Call of Duty 4 on the Playstation 3 online for the first time today at around 5pm. Being a Tiscali customer I haven't ever been able to do that before (i can usually only connect between 12 midnight and 12 midday - the makers of COD are well aware of Tiscali and Pipex and there is a forum thread about it here -

    Anyway its now 7pm and i cant connect anymore so i guess Tiscali are up to their old tricks again.

  43. Andy Worth


    Tiscali have been crap since I was still using dialup. I remember I was part of a relatively small ISP (in the large scale of things) called Lineone, which had a busy and interesting community of people. They had good site content and were generally quite useful. Then Tiscali took over, the community was all but shattered by changes they brought in to the forums, the service became worse and impersonal, and generally it just went to the dogs.

    Then more recently I used Nildram, who at the time were an independent company with excellent service. Granted they weren't the cheapest, but they were excellent to deal with and consistently considered the best on They, fairly recently, have been bought by Tiscali and since the reports on their service level have got worse and worse.

    I've pretty much given up trying by now as I'm sure that eventually whoever I go with will be bought by some large company and ruined.

  44. Karl Rowlands

    "web ok, anything else = fail"

    Hah - someone read my complaint post! Well, that's something.

    It's definetly better since Saturday...I seem to have FTP etc back. Web has been slow a little, but it's all useable.

    We've been with Tiscali for..3 years I think. First at my mothers on 512k, now here on 2mb. In all that time, as I'm sure I said in the post - we've had maybe 3 "tedious enough to be annoying issues". It's just annoying that it takes so long to get anything actioned.

    The MK forum team do a good job..I'd much rather deal with them than pay to talk to someone I can't understand, who has no real knowledge of their system/windows/computers (or so it feels last time I spoke to India about a problem).

    It's just a shame they're not given more powers to act as "full blown" helpdesk staff. They've always been able to assist in the issues and raise them to a level where the ineffective Tiscali management sit up and do something.

  45. Damfoose

    Another blocking attempt then

    Try playing an online game with tiscali at peak time it's just not going to happen, Apparently online games move huge wads of graphical data up and down the connection when your playing, That was what i was told when I made a help desk call for a friend.

    Needless to say ive been using a diffrent supplier and have allways warned friends who not to use.

  46. Jim Caddis
    Thumb Down

    Still not fixed

    Still not fixed, their forums are inundated with slow speed complaints, tonight on my 2MB/s line I get 600KBs - steer well clear of Tiscali

  47. Chris
    Thumb Down

    Does anyone remember when bandwidth was priced based on its cost to telcos?

    I agree with all of the arguments against throttling, shaping, unlimited with the small print, etc. False advertising and should be prosecuted. ISPs have f'ed things up by giving away everything for next to free and are now trying to stuff a genie back in a bottle.

    But you can't have everything for nothing. Does anyone remember when bandwidth allotted was based a little bit more in line with the actual cost to the carriers? Before the giant race for who could provide fastest service for the least amount of money......

    Now that they've opened up this can of worms with $30 a month unlimited 15/mbps down 1/mbps up (over here in the states anyway), Telcos can't go back to a reasonable pricing model. They expect each user to download one song a day via iTunes, and never download videos or watch youtube.

    All this was a brilliant idea when the largest files people were downloading were animated GIFs or flash files. Now that content is so bandwidth intensive even my grandmother would hit some of these limits. Throw in Windows patch Tuesday and several computers per houshold and again, we're using more bandwidth than our $30 is covering in cost.

    For less than $400 a year an ISP is supposed to deploy the network, maintain it, perform upgrades, employ a call center for the boobs who download trojans/spyware and blame it on the ISP as well as tech support any network aware application you have that doesn't work, provide you with endpoint hardware to integrate your house with their network, record everything so that when you download kiddie porn/read militant websites it can be provided to the government on a whim, run and secure email (and in some cases web servers) for you, and do everything else under the sun.

    Even if you said take the total revenue and divide it by total costs I'd tell you forget it. I wouldn't want to run an ISP. It reminds me of the insurance companies here in the states that insure for natural disasters and than cry for a government bail out when a natural disaster actually occurs.

    Not saying that everyone should pay $1500 a month for internet service, but the price point needs to be higher if people are going to expect a minimal amount of performance.

    Oddly enough my cable company seems to have been able to keep up a minimal set of network performance - subsidizing its internet access by doubling it's television cost over a five year period.

    Thumbs down because there is no good solution where everyone wins.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    Now listen up you clueless ****wits !

    Once again, there are the usual "should get <whatever the speed is> all day every day with no limits" posts.

    GET REAL !

    If you want that, then you CAN have it. I'm switching over tomorrow evening to a service with uncontended 6m symmetric unlimited connectivity (at work I'll hasten to add). Yes, 6mbps both ways, not shared with anyone else, and with absolutely no caps.

    So, if that's what you want, you CAN have it. The only problem is that none of you whining b***ards will want to pay for it as it costs "quite a lot more" than your shared, capped, ADSL. Something in the order of 20x to 40x (or more) depending on what you compare it with.

    So really it's a matter of "speed costs, how fast can you afford ?" - if you want more, then go to an ISP that offers it and pay for it. If you don't want to pay for it, then shut the f*** up moaning about what you won't pay for !

    Now, what is REALLY needed is for the ISPs to be honest and admit what they are selling, then people could make their own minds up where they want to sit on the cost vs capacity tradeoff. In that respect the old style ADSL where you were sold a speed and contention ratio was somewhat better - you would know (for example) that on a 512k 50:1 service you were only buying a guaranteed 10kbps service. I'd rather see services sold on a "comitted rate" basis (ie the rate you are guaranteed, 10kbps in the above example) but it's fairly obvious why the ISPs won't want to publish just how overcontended their service is.

  49. Anonymous Coward

    Blaim it all on incompetent OFCOM and the ASA

    If either of them had any teeth, then broadband suppliers would never have been allowed to state an "up to" maximum and no guaranteed minimum, but would instead have been required to state a GUARANTEED minimum and prohibited from publishing any statement about what they could expect above the guaranteed minimum.

    Consequently, a reduction below the guaranteed minimum would constitute a service failure (and, sensibly, trigger a meaningful refund each time it happens).

    Sadly, we're not going to get accountable ISPs until either somebody senior at OFCOM and ASA both resign, and/or their organisations be replaced by something more competent.

  50. Methchild Dildrop
    Thumb Up


    I am with Newnet and they suit my needs perfectly

    from their pages

    "Uncapped service - No traffic shaping or port blocking

    NewNet does not operate a policy of managing traffic and traffic types on our broadband network. Many other ISPs introduce packet shaping and other measures to limit the available bandwidth so you do not experience your full broadband potential."

    packages are from a tenner and if you are in the portsmouth area they do 'up to 24meg' but are 8meg everywhere else plus they are so confident that you will be happy that they have a tie in of only 1 month so you can try them without fear of being stuck with them and if you do go with them and they do something crap then you can bail out pretty quickly.

    I have been with them for about a year and have had zero problems with them so have no hesitation in recommending them.

  51. John

    Reality is dawning...

    Once upon a time I could get free 0870 and 0845 calls with my pay monthly on 02 now I can't. Once upon a time I could get per second billing with VirginMedia on my land line now i can't.

    The future is very simple when the market becomes saturated then you will have transparent pricing with premium service options at optimal prices. The problem is no ISP is willing to jump first and risk losing market share. The deepest pockets of the quad players like BT and Virgin will hold out as long as possible until they are sure limited damage can be done to their subscriber base.

    So instead we have traffic shaping also known as bandwidth throttling which weaker players like Tiscali have to take (sink or swim). In this case the shaping policy by design or more likely by accident went wrong. It happens...

    Smaller quality players are OK but I doubt in the end they will be able to withstand the price pressure of the premium services offered by quads. The smaller player profits just wont be big enough to fund the emerging technologies that me and you will be demanding.

  52. This post has been deleted by its author

  53. Hayden Clark Silver badge


    We don't want free internet. We want the service we thought we were getting when we signed up - you know, the "unlimited" thing.

    Tiscali can sell whatever product they like, and traffic shape, port block, throttle, or DPI as they choose. What they CAN'T do, and what they are currently doing, is to sell a package that looks like 8Mbit/sec, no cap, and actually is something else entirely. That is what all the screaming and whining is about.

  54. richard furze

    AOL UK dead slow too

    Anyone else experencing dead slow AOL UK (i.e. provided for by Carphone Warehouse) Broadband in the last week or two?

    This is getting beyond a joke.

  55. John

    Blocked Opera, the rats

    One more outage and I'm switching. The only other trouble I've had with Tiscali was at the start when I signed up for 2Mbps, but the line couldn't handle it so after a week or so they downgraded me to 1Mbps and I've been very happy until last week. On the Monday evening I rang tech support (automated service status said no issues) and I played along and rebooted the router and my MacBook in the right order and to my complete surprise the reboots fixed it. That was shortly after 10pm. The next night was the same, but I tried FF3 and Safari, which were both fine, but email was slow and Opera was unusable. Shortly after 10pm everything worked again as if by magic. The wednesday was the same, but got better slightly earlier. I know Opera has a bit-torrent client built in, but how many people use Opera's bit-torrent? I don't use it and I'm guessing most people who do use a dedicated client instead.

  56. Ian Henderson

    Ian : Manchester

    My friend had this issue with one of the games he plays

    I phoned their support to help him out

    At over an hour listening to "we are experiencing high call columes at present" at 10p - 20p+ a min i was told the following by an overseas call center manager :

    1) He would not write anything other than "customer is not completely satisfied" in the call log ... when i pushed him he admitted they were reviewed and that was the reason. He still would not change it to something closer to the truth

    2) The problem had been resolved

    3) .... Well that problem had been resolved .... so it must be the impact of voice traffic > cue script on "how many telephones do you have"

    4) We do not have access to the internet so cannot check forum posts on the matter to save time

    5) After another 30min on hold I was told we are very busy at the moment can you call back

    6) Cutoff twice but I had his name :D

    7) lost the will to live 3 hours in being no closer to a resolution ....


    Best advice I can give


  57. Anonymous Coward

    COD 4 on PS3 has been affected by this for a while too

    I have asked for my MAC - any suggestions as to who is best / cheapest at providing unlimed / no port blocking / traffic management etc - was looking at this lot as they promise "No network contention, no port blocking, traffic shaping or bandwidth throttling: -

    Is there a catch?

  58. Anonymous Coward

    The old adage, you get what you pay for...

    Reading the horror stories over the Tiscali (and others) with there port blocking and traffic shaping got me thinking about my connection.

    Been with BT Internet since 1995 and not once have I had any downtime or blocked ports. Torrents come down at 800kbs depending on seeds, Downloads from http sites are similar.

    I actually have to limit d/l speeds at my end so I can use the connection for other things. I do hear them slated by some too, but it is down to individual experience with an ISP.

    Fair enough im on the top package, but you pay £12 or so a month to Tiscali, then really what do you actually expect?

    If your connection and speeds really make that much of a difference to the way you work and play, then im sorry but you have to pay for it.

    Me I don't grudge a penny of it as I prefer to pay to get what I want and require from my ISP.

  59. Anonymous Coward

    It's a problem everywhere

    This all sounds sooo familiar. About a year ago the French ISP "Free" 'upgraded' some equipment. Result - forums full of people complaining that their broadband was slower than dialup. Free denied any port shaping of course, despite the fact that ordinary http/smtp traffic was fine, but anything else got zero throughput.

    Unfortunately for a dozen people in my office alone "anything else" included SSL email, VPN, etc.; all the things needed to telecommute. It took Free *3 months* to finally react, which they did by blaming France Telecom. I hung in there, mainly because none of the alternatives offered the free US phone calls which is also very useful for telecommuting, but was on the point of biting the bullet and giving up when it finally got better. It's still crap, a month ago my ADSL was offline for 4 days, and they only returned my support call a week after it was fixed, but at least I get most of my 1Mbit/s, most of the time. No idea if P2P and torrents work, I've never tried them.

    I know that you get what you pay for, but I live in the sticks are there aren't any reputable ISPs who'll let me pay them for decent service out here. My only real alternative is to go back to ISDN :(

    Fradulent? Well, you might say that, but the last person who accused Free of fraud in an online forum got a lawsuit slapped on them, so I couldn't possibly comment, and remain:


  60. A J Stiles

    "Without Let or Hindrance"

    Which part of "Without Let or Hindrance" do these clowns not understand?

  61. Anonymous Coward

    Talking of Unlimited

    Here is a Petition to stop ISP's using the phrase unlimited, unless of course it truly is.........

  62. Anna Log

    Still no Napster - or anything much else

    Well surprise, surprise I couldn't log on to Napster yesterday evening. I understand the concept of line contention, I understand that I'll get the service I pay for. My Pipex 'to go' account has a 15Gb per month limit, my typical usage is < 5 Gb. Yet, all of a sudden, I'm permantently on the naughty pipe, despite the fact I don't use P2P, one or two programmes a month are downloaded from BBC iPlayer, but even that's configured to downlaod only, no uploads. Oh well I wonder how long it'll take to get a MAC from Tiscali :-/

  63. janimal

    Don't tell!

    stop it! when will people who have found a great ISP realise that the more people they tell about it the worse it will get?

    My ISP is great, but if I told you who it was I would have to kill you.

  64. Anthony Hulse
    Paris Hilton

    Really not good

    As an ex-Homechoice customer currently still on the old network I'm viewing this with absolute horror. We're all scheduled to be migrated onto Tiscali proper next month, and IPTV down the phone line is the only digital TV channel option I have.

    If this is the future I'll be re-commissioning that second line I have lying dormant in the back bedroom and paying for ADSL 2+ from Be. You simply cannot go backwards with Internet speeds without really getting frustrated.

    Paris because she's looking tearful, an emotion I may be sharing in a few weeks time.

  65. Ben Mathews

    Be There

    Be are good... been with them for about 18 months now. £14 a month, 10meg down (due to location, it's up to 24), no capping or traffic shaping.


  66. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Tiscali? ... only ever been mediocre ... getting worse

    I have been with Tiscali for just over a year now. Supply of modem and initial connection were fine and initially it was OK, although evening speeds were noticeably slower and browsing became flakey.

    But gradually the service deteriorated ... slow speeds, disconnections, mail servers unavailable. At the end of May 2007, when mail failed for several days due to Tiscali's inept handling of a SPAM storm, we were told that e-mail was an "extra" and that we shouldn't rely on it. That's probably one of the few things they have been honest about ... lots of my e-mails disappeared into the ether.

    Lately (since Christmas 2007), the service has been even worse for me with frequent disconnections and then inability to get authenticated for some time. I really couldn't recommend Tiscali to anyone and it's time for me to leave.

  67. pfc

    Another petition ...

    Has this petition been mentioned yet? ...

  68. Law

    RE: ooohh the little tinkers.

    "My download speeds from Napster using my 'pipex' ADSL line were down to a whopping 3kb/s yesterday afetrnoon"

    You should be ringing them up to thanks them - Napster sucks!! :)

    On a serious note, this wreaks of the crap I went through with PlusNet a few years ago... one day my usenet downloads went from 4mb to 4k.... when I rang them they said I had downloaded more than 1GB of data via usenet and that I was now on a silver service until the next billing period - which was about 4 weeks away. Then they claimed I was making the speeds up, and I should have been getting at least a couple of mb, then they claimed I should go with a third party usenet provider (I already was). In the end, I left - at a cost of over £200 because they had reset my contract when I switched my line from my old house to the new.

    This is why I now pay for decent ISP's... well, semi decent. Be have been having some router problems recently too.... might be time to look around again!

  69. Anonymous Coward

    Don't know what the fuss is about...

    Tiscali's T&C's clealy state what the FUP covers - anything between 6pm&11pm... (okay, admittedly, they don't define exactly what heavy usage is, and if you ask them, they give you a BS answer along the lines of, "We can't define it exactly as it changes from day to day..." but you know that during their peak hours, you stick to web browsing and emails!)

    If you're a heavy downloader, and I average about 20-30GB a day, Tiscali actually have a pretty decent policy, "Steer clear of our peak times, and we'll leave you in peace." For £18 a month, for a decent 8Mb line, I sure as hell ain't complaining with that.

    I've been with Demon (who up until they upgraded their lines back in 2006 to the 8Mb and consequently changed their T&C's were pretty decent as well - but now cap you at 60GB, thereafter throttling you down to 128kbps during their peak periods) who're overpriced have crap customer service and nowhere near as reasonable fair use policy. I've been with BT, who quite frankly couldn't find their a*** from their elbow. And through my clients, I've seen a hell of a lot of problems with other providers as well (Eclipse probably being the worst one I've had to deal with.)

    So seriously, stick to downloading outside Tiscali's peak hours, and they're actually pretty decent - the odd screw-up taken into account (not telling anyone their emails were disappearing into a black hole and throttling legit programs.)

    - Happy Little Smurf

  70. Anna Log
    Paris Hilton

    RE:RE: ooohh the little tinkers.

    >>"My download speeds from Napster using my 'pipex' ADSL line were down to a whopping 3kb/s yesterday afetrnoon"

    >>You should be ringing them up to thanks them - Napster sucks!! :)

    Serious question : is there actually an alternative 'all you can eat' download service available in the UK, covering most mainstream labels / artists? With two teenaged daughters whose musical tastes change every 5 minutes,10 quid a month rental to Napster is actually a pretty cost effective solution for me. Plus they let me use it sometimes ;-)

    Napster still seem to have an image problem, the majority of Pipex / tiscali "support" staff I've spoken to in the last few days seemed to think Napster is still some 'naughty' P2P service.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: you get what you pay for

    I am paying for the service which Pipex offered. I'm getting the inferior service that Tiscali are dishing out. Perhaps I should pay them three quarters of the monthly sub from now, citing "introduction of unannounced payment throttling" as the reason.

  72. John Munyard

    Customer Service

    I think that it's a measure of Tiscali's approach to it's customers that as a Pipex customer I have never received a formal notification that Tiscali had taken them over. How many months is that now?

    I mean... how much does a bloody email cost to send out ?

  73. Steve Evans

    @Anonymous Coward

    "Tiscali actually have a pretty decent policy, "Steer clear of our peak times, and we'll leave you in peace." For £18 a month, for a decent 8Mb line, I sure as hell ain't complaining with that."

    Yes and no... That was what I used to do when I have a Pipex connection. Lasted many a year with my p2p client set to auto throttle from 6pm to midnight. Then when Pipex started looking as the bottom line total, I got the "You're a heavy user" letter, and I cleared off to Tiscali. (Silly me).

    The problem with Tiscali is they block it completely. I happily schedule big downloads over night, but sometimes, you just need to get something during those peak times, and it's a complete no go. It's not throttled down, I can't even get a connection to the tracker! You're lucky if it's back by midnight.

    They are just squeezing so many people onto their over-congested network. I can't believe they are inside their 50:1 contention ratio.

    Luckily my contract is up in 2 months, and I'm off!

  74. Peter Reynolds

    Tiscali's reputation sinks deeper every day

    Last month, without any explanation, Tiscali's Homechoice customers were deprived of email for four days. I agree, companies that treat their customers with contempt are in fact fraudsters because all the promises, tacit and explicit, that they make in their marketing they sweep aside without a moment's thought or concern

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